Today we hit an internal milestone: we locked down all content and feature development for Path of Fire. We now move the game to our staging servers and start final preparations for launch.
This expansion is all about content, and today’s milestone marks the completion of eighteen months of content creation. It’s been a labor of love for the team. We hope we’ve brought each story chapter, each open-world zone, and each mount up to the level of what you experienced in the demos last month.
Thanks to everyone who joined the demos and the stress tests. We used those tests to inform our final balance tweaks, and to squash some bizarre bugs that we could only reproduce under heavy load, like the one where Raptors would randomly show up in non-demo maps.
We’re in the home stretch. Eleven days to launch! We can’t wait to play Path of Fire with you!
Showing Highly Rated Posts By Mike O Brien:
We’re currently putting the finishing touches on episode five. It’s an important episode and we’re taking the time to get it right. I wanted to let you know that this episode will release closer to the three-month side of our two-to-three-month cadence. We’ll make the formal announcement when everything’s locked down. In the meantime, just hang tight a little while longer.
Daniel Dociu will be leaving ArenaNet. Daniel has been defining the art direction for ArenaNet since 2003, before the launch of Guild Wars, and the impact he’s made on the studio and industry will be seen for years to come. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. Daniel, thank you for thirteen wonderful years creating worlds together. We’ll miss you. We look forward to your continued success.
Horia Dociu now takes over as the art director of Guild Wars 2. Horia also first joined the Guild Wars art team in 2003. He loves the game, he lives and breathes the art, and he continues our tradition of putting art at the forefront, never settling, relentlessly pushing ourselves to new heights. With Horia as art director, the game is in great hands.
You’ve probably noticed that the champions in the labyrinth haven’t felt as challenging this year as they did in previous years. The only actual change to them was a bug fix to the lich to keep him from summoning unlimited minions at high event scaling. But they all felt easier because they hadn’t kept up with the power growth of the player base. We gave them all quick buffs today.
Additionally, with this map being as profitable as it is, a lot of players have started triggering diminishing rewards. That’s just not cool. So we disabled diminishing rewards on this map.
As we previously posted, today’s release unfortunately contained a bug that damaged character records, and in response we’ve taken down the game servers and are in the process of rolling back the state of the game to where it was before the release.
We shut down the game servers at approximately 11:30 am PDT (18:30 GMT), and we’re rolling back the game state to 9:10 am PDT (16:10 GMT), so there’s a 2h 20m window where all changes to the game are being rolled back. Here are the details for what will happen to various changes made during that window.
If you created a new account during that time period, you’ll have to create it again. If you changed an account, for example changing your password or applying two-factor authentication, you’ll have to redo that change. If the customer support team changed your account for you, for example restoring it to you, they’ll redo that change over the next 24 hours.
If you purchased the game on an existing account, we’ll restore your purchase. If you purchased the game on a newly created account, you’ll need to recreate your account. We’ll contact you so we can restore your purchase after you have recreated your account.
If you purchased gems, we’ll restore the gems. If you purchased an item using gems, that purchase will be rolled back, and you’ll have your gems back. You can purchase again. If you purchased a sale item that’s no longer on sale, you can purchase again, then contact customer support for a refund of the difference between the current price and the sale price.
All in-game transactions are being rolled back, including transactions through the currency exchange, trading post, guild bank, and in-game mail. The trading post will come back online after the rest of the game does, and with buy and sell offers back where they were prior to this morning’s release.
Character progress made during the affected time period is being rolled back. If you had an extreme situation, for example you got a precursor from the mystic forge and then had that rolled back, contact our customer support team and we’ll try to help you.
Thank you for bearing with us through this process. We’ll be back online soon.
There’s a bug in today’s release that can cause soulbound items in an inventory bag other than your first bag to become soulbound to a different character on your account. We can fix the bug with no damage done, except we can’t straightforwardly fix it if you’ve moved one of those incorrectly soulbound items into bank storage. We’ll have to work on a solution for characters in that state. To prevent additional players from getting into this state, we’re going to shut down the game servers until we can fix this bug. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Last night a hacker socially engineered one of our CS agents to gain control of Gaile’s account, and accessed GW1 using it. Gaile of course has two-factor auth on her account, and despite the social engineering, the two-factor auth worked and protected her, so the hacker had no access to her forum or GW2 accounts. Only GW1 pre-dates our 2FA/SMS system.
To socially engineer the CS agent, the hacker provided a variety of personal details about Gaile. But we don’t accept personal details as primary proof of account ownership. We require things like verifying billing info, two-factor auth, access to the account’s primary phone number, or access to its primary IP address in cases where IP address ownership is clearly established. When we can’t verify, we decline access, knowing that incorrectly declining is an unfortunate but better outcome than incorrectly granting access. These are all established and documented policies. We have a great team of customer support agents who follow these policies, and the hacker tried a bunch of times and found one agent who didn’t.
We want to protect all accounts as much as we want to protect our own. Some of you were particularly concerned about the impact to the game of hacking a GM account. You should know that we don’t give GM accounts or any accounts the ability to cheat progress, synthesize items, or manipulate the game’s economy. We play the game the same way you play the game. The hacker was able to use Gaile’s GM access to manipulate guild trims, but mostly he handed out Gaile’s personal items that she had collected from years of playing GW1.
We take your account security seriously and will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our support team consistently applies this security policy and prioritizes protecting you from account hackers.
(edited by Moderator)
I signed off on the first episode of Living World Season 3, and we’re getting ready to announce the episode and its release date. I’m super proud of the team for hitting this milestone. Over the past few weeks the team has been processing up to a hundred pieces of feedback each day, working to get all the details right.
Reaching sign-off on an episode doesn’t mean we’re done. Now we integrate the episode content with the other updates that ship in this release, and with localized text and voice-over, and we do final testing of all that. To give a sense of the scope of this process, this update has about 1,500 distinct lines of new voice dialog, each of which must be recorded, integrated, and tested in each supported language. For the player character’s voice, we separately record each race/sex combination in each language, so that means 40 actors for each line.
With this release, we’re bundling a Living World episode with additional content for other areas of the game. You’ve seen that we’ve been following a pattern of releasing a bundled update each quarter; this is a content-focused continuation of that kind of thing. Of course, we’ll give this release a name, not “July Quarterly Update”. And we may be able to increase the pace, ramping from four bundled releases per year towards six, so we’ll move away from calling these “quarterly”.
Some of you may look back nostalgically at 2013 when we shipped updates every two weeks. That year we shipped a wide variety of things: nine or ten releases that we’d today call a Living World episode, plus updates to systems and content for other parts of the game, plus festivals. So it was the extreme unbundled version of this. It was nice that there was always something new, but I’m personally not wistful of that cadence, because we sacrificed so much to be able to ship that frequently. With Season 3 our goal is to deliver content sustainably, at quality, establishing a pattern we don’t have to take breaks from.
It feels great to be shipping Living World again. Thanks for your patience through the recent content draught. Having been through it, I’m sure you understand why I’m focused on sustainability.
Stay tuned for a more formal announcement, and for more details from ArenaNet and our partners.